Recent science fiction has brought anthropomorphic robots from an imaginary far-future to contemporary spacetime. Employing semiotic concepts of semiosis, unpredictability and art as a modelling system, this study demonstrates how the artificial characters in four recent series have greater analogy with human behaviour than that of machines. Through Ricoeur’s notion of identity, this research frames the films’ narratives as typical literary and thought experiments with human identity. However, the familiar sociotopes and technoscientific details included in the narratives concerning data, privacy and human–machine interaction blur the boundary between the human and the machine in both fictional and real-world discourse. Additionally, utilising Haynes’ scientist stereotypes, the research puts the robot makers into focus, revealing their secret agendas and hidden agency behind the artificial creatures.